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Farewell MacBrian

last updated on January 13, 2016 14:00

Farewell MacBrian

Amy Stovold’s Grand Prix horse MacBrian (pictured) has been put to sleep at the age of 19. The horse sustained a fractured pelvis before Christmas and despite the best efforts of the Arundel Equine Hospital, Amy was forced to make the hardest decision as the gallant MacBrian was struggling to make a recovery.

Described by Amy as her ‘best friend’, the Bjorsells Briar-sired gelding who she co-owned with Julia and Nick Jacobs, enjoyed an impressive career at the highest level with his West Sussex-based rider. Their partnership, spanning more than a decade, saw them achieve many international successes both at home and abroad including, in 2010, an impressive appearance in the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Olympia.

“Life has not, and will not, be the same without him. He was a very special horse who was much loved by so many people,” said Amy who trained the charismatic liver chestnut all the way from a novice to Grand Prix. “He put his heart and soul into everything.”

MacBrian entered Amy’s life after she went to view him on the recommendation of equine dentist, Nat Heal. “He suggested I see another client of his, Johannna Hedberg at the Cranbrook Stud as she had a nice horse for sale, and I knew from the moment I first sat on him how special he was.”

“He was eight years old at the time and although he hadn’t competed, Johanna, who had had him since a foal, had done a lot of groundwork with him and a lot of hacking which worked in his favour. He was a big horse and it gave him extra time to grow and get strong.”

Three years later, in 2009, having already enjoyed international small tour success, Amy and the talented MacBrian really came into their own. They competed in their first Grand Prix and topped off the year as National Intermediate II Champions, but their best was yet to come.

2010 and 2011 were the partnership’s golden years. They represented Great Britain on no fewer than ten occasions, notching up numerous successes including victories at both Pompadour and Vidauban CDIs. The highlight however was their Olympia debut in December 2010. Amy had held an ambition to compete in the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Olympia, and there, in world class company in front of a home crowd, the pair pulled out all the stops to achieve a remarkable fifth place.

An injury in 2011 dashed their Olympic hopes but Amy always continued to think he’d make a comeback. Having returned to full soundness and encouraged by British team rider Fiona Bigwood with whom Amy is based, they competed at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships last September, the horse showing as much enthusiasm as ever.

“We’ll all miss ‘Macca’ enormously,” said an emotional Amy. “He touched many, many hearts and everyone who knew him loved him so much.”